2017 was a tremendous year for vegan food. I ate gelato every day of my two week holiday in Italy and had two afternoon teas in Greater Manchester which didn’t even make it into my top five spots – it’s been that good! As always, here’s a little roundup of my favourite five eateries of the year, along with five I’m not keen to return to for various reasons, including misuse of the word “pie”.
Hit #1: The Allotment, Manchester
Ever since I visited this place back in January, I’ve been calculating how to afford and squeeze in a return trip. It’s Manchester’s fanciest and most creative vegan eatery, and I wish I could go back for every seasonal menu change (I’ve just been for the Christmas menu and it was spectacular – review coming soon!). Relive my first visit here.
Miss #1: Trattoria Alessi, Desenzano
This wasn’t a bad plate of food, but it certainly wasn’t the “tomato pie with tofu cheese” that I was promised. You can’t just throw the word “pie”around like that. Feelings get hurt. If you’re not too traumatised at the thought of being denied a pie, you can read more in this review.
Hit #2: La Tigella Verona, Verona
This was our favourite feast in Italy, a country where we were very well-fed indeed. It was a huge spread, a local speciality, and absolutely delicious, so it ticks all the boxes. Fried gnoccho, a plate of mock meat, cheese and grilled veg, loads of bread and ten little dips: we truly had it all! You can revisit Dr HH’s wonderful write-up here.
Miss #2: Al Vecio Canton, Venice
Another tofu mishap: this is my pizza with “tofu cheese”. Yes, that’s just crumbled, unseasoned tofu on top of a vegetable pizza. This isn’t a vegan place (obviously), and they really need to start running their dishes by a vegan before committing them to the menu.
Hit #3: Gratitude, Munich
We almost didn’t go to Gratitude because the name reminds me of lifestyle bloggers and humblebraggers on social media. I’m glad I pulled myself together and tried it, because I was served one of the most creative and delicious dishes I’ve ever tried – more here. #blessed
Miss #3: Radicetonda, Milan
Radicetonda wasn’t terrible by any means (see here), but it’s not a place I would recommend or revisit in Milan. The food was pretty average, but prices were really high. €13 for this? Never again!
Hit #4: playing with eels, Berlin
We had two sensational all-you-can-eat brunches in Berlin, but this one just edged it for me (I think Dr HH is leaning more towards Viasko though – both are reviewed here). The desserts section was just incredible. Rice pudding and Bounty pudding are the ultimate brunch dishes!
Miss #4: Radici, Bologna
I had one night of five star food at Radici, and one night of two star food (see this pesto-less pasta). That kind of inconsistency earns them a place on this list, because who knows which one is the anomaly? You can read my full review here.
Hit #5: vgOloso, Venice
This small, friendly place in Mestre was one of the highlights of our trip to Italy, thanks to its low prices and fantastic flavours. The pasta dishes were delicious, and the dessert was even better. Relive the magic here!
Miss #5: Plevel, Prague
I feel a little guilty about including Plevel here, because their food remains as good as ever (just look at my glowing previous review). Service has deteriorated though. The Czech Republic isn’t generally known for its customer service, but I find that the vegan establishments are much better than other places (must be our natural compassion shining through!). Plevel used to be fine, but on my last two visits the staff have on one occasion argued with me and accused me of lying about my payment method, and on the other taken over twenty minutes to bring drinks, despite the place being almost empty and not even serving food yet. On the plus side, bad service is a much easier fix than bad or overpriced food, so I’m sure they’ll be back on track soon – maybe I’ve just been unlucky.
What were your hits and misses of 2017? Any cafes and restaurants I need to add to my list to try? Let me know!